Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Of Tamales, Zippers and AT&T

  Today is a landmark day for us. It's the first day we are without a car in a lot of years for me, and little less for Rosie. The new owner of our 12 year old Ford Explorer picked up the vehicle last night after waiting for about two months for it, the deal being struck back in early March.
  I read about people living aboard that keep a vehicle nearby, and it they travel, then they spend a lot of time shuttling the car from one location to another. I wonder if they total up how much they spend in fuel and time to shuttle the car around, just for it to sit nearby, "just in case" they need it. I admit that I cannot speak from personal experience on this subject, but I see having a car as another complication that we don't need. We intend to rent a vehicle, or hire a cab if we have to, to get somewhere we need to be. We did buy a Non-Owned Auto Policy from State Farm which covers liability for us, as well as damage to another vehicle in the event of an accident. The insurance you get from a car rental agency only covers their property, they don't have much interest in your economic health. Anyone following our blog will be the first to know if our plan works out as time goes on.
  Since broadcasting our intention to have no vehicle, the question we always get is the same one we got when we moved from the suburbs to the city, which was "How are you going to get groceries?" What is it with everyone and their obsession with the easy availability to acquire groceries at the drop of a hat? Anyone taking a second glance at me and has any doubt as to whether I'm going to not have a plan to get groceries is not looking close enough. Believe me, getting food has not been a problem.
  We mentioned our stocking up on canned goods in the last post and we found room for everything. We have one pantry on the boat, intended by the manufacturer to hold our various foodstuffs. Great for a long weekend, but we're going to be a little more prepared, even if it means sitting a bit low in the water to do it. We also have another "pantry" in the galley that we added when we built our chart room, or office. There are three nice cabinets in the salon and two of them were sub-divided and also house a few pounds of canned goods.

  I think we are good for a month or two of life on the hook, maybe more if my fishing skills develop. The way things have been going, we may have a six month supply, if our recent "tamale incident" is any indication.
  A couple of weeks ago when I was installing our water pumps and doing other necessary work, I made a can of Hypower Tamales for lunch one day. I've been making these as an easy lunch ever since I was old enough to use a can opener, and my younger days were familiar with Chef Boyardee, Hormel, and other products of dubious content. Being of the frugal variety, the "juice" left over from the tamale production was saved for future use, as I consider it as nutritionally valuable as some of the gruel that was served to us in school. This may not be a good indicator to use, but old habits die hard.
  I figured to use the tamale juice later in one of my creative dishes and once Rosie and I moved onto the boat, our second meal consisted of a can of Hormel Chili, (or so the can says) the tamale juice, some Minute Rice and shredded cheese, rolled up into some tasty burritos. I think the leftovers multiplied in the refrigerator over the next day or two and I subsequently made some scrambled egg burritos one morning with the growing supply of what I was now calling "Spanish Rice". Last night we had some grilled sirloin patties (hamburgers without buns), some asparagus, and a nice helping of our Spanish Rice. I think those little rice kernels were busy again, the spicy sauce of the chili and tamales playing their part in the mutual attraction, and I was supplied with some more of this dish just this morning as a side to a leftover bacon omelet from yesterday morning. As Rosie dished it up, she remarked as to there was still more rice left and could I eat it? "No, I will press on", with intentions to finish it up later if possible. Looks like burritos again for lunch.
  We had new zippers installed on our bimini top about a year ago, and during the storms over the weekend while we were on the hook, it appears that the wind helped in separating by a few inches, one of the main zippers holding the top onto the frame. My experience in the past with zippers that separate in the middle usually don't result in a happy ending. This time, because we are still occupying our slip at the Duck Club, our "zipper guy" is coming by this afternoon for a look see. He may be able to coax the zipper back into compliance with proper zipper code and we can be on our way. He remarked as to how the "whole top may need to come off" to repair the zipper. That is not going to happen. Mr. Zipper can stay a little unzipped until we can come up with a better option. It's a plan I've used with my Levi's over the years with mixed results.
  I did go online and found a product that repairs zippers with a zipper pull device that screws on and allows you to open or close a broken zipper by screwing on the zipper pull, doing your handiwork, and then taking the pull off to use on another repair later. The price was right and I set to order a few of them and have them shipped to Bloch Marine to pick up later this week. The online order couldn't be processed for some cyber reason or other, so my goal to repair the zipper is so close, yet so far away. This is how things go, there is always just a few bumps in any journey just to let us know that things can't go as smoothly as we'd want. Just last night I turned on the T.V. and found one of our speakers in the salon didn't work. Out came the screwdriver, and upon taking out the speaker, I found a disconnected speaker wire, pulled loose during a project earlier that morning. I wish all fixes were that easy.
  Which brings us to AT&T. Sigh. I don't want to relive the crime by telling of all of the details, but I'll make it short. A couple of weeks ago I cancelled our DSL at the condo as we were moving the computer to the boat. I was delighted up until and including the time when I published my last post on here last Friday. On Saturday morning, between the hours of 2:39 and 2:40 A.M., someone at AT&T pulled the big master switch that controls the email and Internet use of the Swing Set crew and we woke up Saturday morning with nothing but phone service. I was on the phone for over three hours with several "real" agents from AT&T, and even more robots, as my calls kept getting disconnected during the investigation. We eventually got our service back, but our billing looks goofy. Two more hours on the phone yesterday did nothing to resolve the issue. We'll see if the online billing shapes up before the next bill is due; I can believe in magic just as easily as anything else available.
  Lots of friends suggested switching to this carrier, or that carrier: It's not gonna happen. My dad is on our plan with his cell phone, plus I don't want to replace my iPhone or new iPad. It took about ten years for us to convince him of the wisdom to get a cell phone and there is no way we're going to announce a needed switch now. We'll die with this AT&T service at least until he does, and at nearly 86 years old, and factoring in the crabby quotient, I figure AT&T and him are both good for at least another ten years.


  1. If that is the worst of your problems, I would say you are doing pretty well so far. See you this weekend!!

    1. Yes, pretty good so far, but our reliance on email and the Internet is our weak spot. Well, attraction to young women in bikinis is also another weak spot.

  2. Great to read the blog.You and Rosie are living our dream.Maybe we will learn from it.Thanks for sharing.Ken & Teri aka AbbyNormal